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Command Centre of the Future

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In this blog I’m going to write about the Command Centre of the Future.  Before I do, I’ll describe a typical contemporary Command Centre’s attributes.  Let’s play Command Centre Bingo and see how many of these attributes you may have also observed:

1) The Command Centre is manned by a large team of Operators who work on shifts around the clock; 2) Operators’ duties are generally limited to initial response; 3) Incident resolution action doesn’t generally start until the Operator functionally escalates to a 2nd line Support team; 4) System monitoring alert messages are often false and not easy to understand; 5) Operators manually log and flog incident tickets; 6) The Centre is filled with graphical displays that provide questionable value; 7) The Centre is a sizable facility that is expensive to build and maintain; 8) Monitoring and incident management processes are separate, and 9) the Command Centre and Support teams are siloed.

Any organisation that scores up to five should question the value of the command centre.  Score any higher than five and the Centre probably operates in a vacuum behind the glass wall.  Either way the operating model should be reviewed.  Why review the operating model?  Because this current way of working is inefficient, ineffective and not fully integrated with the rest of the support organisation.  It’s not really a Command Centre, it’s a bottleneck.

So, if it was changed, what would good look like or, better still, what would the future of good look like?

In my view there should be a shift away from a Centre that is manually operated to one that is fully automated and has a broader range of end-to-end functionality, thereby providing maximum value.

In the Command Centre of the future 1) the Operator role would be substituted by Virtual Engineers – jargon for automated procedures that kick-off standard resolution actions; 2) Stakeholders such as Service Owners and Service Managers, would have personalised dashboards displaying real-time business service status; 3) A Systems Administrator would proactively configure the automated resolution policies based on predictive insight; 4) There would be no need for a physical Command Centre, and 5) The monitoring, incident and problem management processes and tools would be integrated to become a single function.

The vision is to upgrade the current operation from reactive escalation of infrastructure alerts to immediate and pro-active business service incident resolution.  This shift to a higher value function will be enabled through the application of automation technologies, process integration, and broadening of roles and responsibilities.  All underpinned by operating principles and policies that govern the use of automation.

This new model offers three primary benefits. Firstly, there is a decrease in operational cost due to the reduction in support hours spent across the incident management lifecycle.  Secondly, there is an increase in service availability due to rapid resolution, and pro-active prevention, of known incidents. Thirdly, there is an increase in service quality because of the consistent use of standard automation.

IBM GTS has the expertise and technology to transition to this future model and has help many clients by applying the capabilities required.  For more information about how to increase the value of IT Operations such as the Command Centre contact Dr Lloyd I Dale, Associate Partner IBM, via lloyd_dale@uk.ibm.com.

Associate Partner, IBM Services

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